Volleyball Sets a New Standard in Record-Breaking Season
Jan. 4, 2001
A Season Remembered Although the Santa Clara volleyball team exited the NCAA Tournament in the second round for the second straight year--this season when the Broncos lost a heartbreaking five-game thriller to Long Beach State on Dec. 1--the program has much to be proud of. Santa Clara finished the season 27-5, a program best for wins in a season. Additionally, the Broncos won the West Coast Conference Championship for the first time in seven years, and achieved the program's highest national ranking with a No. 14 mark by the AVCA, set in midseason, before settling for a No. 17 final ranking.
The NCAA Championships The Broncos earned one of 31 automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament by winning the West Coast Conference title on Nov. 18. Santa Clara made the program's fifth overall appearance in the postseason and third straight while advancing to the second round for the second straight year.
During the regular season, Santa Clara faced 11 of the 64 teams selected by the NCAA and went 9-4 in those matches, outscoring the opposition 30 games to 21. Additionally, of the 64 teams selected, 12 were from the West Coast with Santa Clara, Stanford and San Jose State as the three Bay Area teams selected. West Coast Conference opponents Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount were also placed in the draw.
Santa Clara Hosts NCAA Sub-Regional For the first time in SCU volleyball history, the Broncos were seeded as one of the top 16 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament, earning the right to host the first two rounds of the 2000 NCAA Championships. Due to reconstruction of SCU's Leavey Center, the Broncos hosted the three matches at San Jose State University's Event Center. Long Beach State opened the sub-regional on Nov. 30 with a four-game victory over San Jose State. The Broncos then followed with a sweep of Sacramento State setting up what became a three-hour showdown in a Dec. 1 second round match.
Broncos Sweep Conference Honors Santa Clara swept the WCC's top four awards this afternoon. Jon Wallace was named the league's Coach of the Year, while senior Ynez Carrasco earned Player of the Year and Defender of the Year honors. Newcomer Becky Potter was named the WCC's Freshman of the Year. Additionally, Carrasco, Roz Pelayo and Amy Kohl received first-team honors, Brook Terhune was named a second-team member, and Jami Bari and Potter earned honorable mention selection.
In the Rankings The Broncos finished the season ranked 17th, the program's all-time highest mark for the final USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll. Three rankings editions prior, Santa Clara was 14th, marking the program's highest-ever national ranking during the season. On Sept. 11, the Broncos entered the AVCA's listings for the first time in seven years, ranked 21st in the poll's second edition. The Broncos haven't been ranked since the 1993 squad went 22-10 and reached the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara was ranked for seven straight weeks that season, peaking at No. 19 for three weeks before finishing 21st. The Broncos finished the regular season ranked 18th in Volleyball Magazine's final poll of the year.
Santa Clara's schedule featured eight ranked opponents over 10 matches. The Broncos went 5-5 against ranked opposition.
Breaking NCAA Records Santa Clara broke two NCAA season records this season. The Broncos averaged 19.33 kills per game to lead the nation, topping Colorado's mark of 19.01 set in 1998. Additionally, that same Buffalo team posted 17.45 assists per game, a statistic Santa Clara claimed as it kept up a 17.87 per-game mark through the year. Individually, senior setter Roz Pelayo's career average of 14.01 assists per game set a new national record as well.
Nationally Speaking Santa Clara led the nation in team kills, averaging 19.33 per game, and team assist average, with a 17.87 mark. Individually, senior Roz Pelayo was sixth nationally in assist average, with a 14.57 mark.
Three Straight 20-Win Seasons Santa Clara's victory over Sacramento State on Nov. 30 gave the team its 27th of the season, a program best, topping the 1991 squad's 26 wins. The Broncos have subsequently put together three straight 20-win seasons for the first time since 1991-93. Additionally, Santa Clara is the first team in WCC history to improve its season victory total in six consecutive seasons. This year's record also marks the seventh time in the program's history that a team has won at least 20 matches in a season. The Broncos' win over Saint Mary's on Oct. 20 guaranteed its fifth-straight regular season win record and 14th overall since 1975.
Into the Recordbooks Senior outside hitter Ynez Carrasco's 19th and final kill in a sweep of San Diego on Oct. 14 gave her 1,497 in three-plus seasons, surpassing Lia Young's career mark of 1,496 set in 1990-93. She finished with 1,748. She is also one of the Broncos' all-time top defensive players, and with 1,278 career digs, fifth on the charts. With those marks, Carrasco became only the fourth Bronco to post 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. But she's not the only senior that rewrote the school's recordbooks. Earlier in the season, setter Roz Pelayo became Santa Clara's all-time assist leader, breaking Kris Kosnoski's record of 4,421 (1990-93). She surpassed the 5,000 mark and finished with has 5,732. She's also set the career assist mark for the WCC, breaking Tracy Holman's 1994-97 record from LMU of 5,362. Amy Kohl is fifth in career kills, becoming only the fifth player in Santa Clara history to pass 1,000 career kills. She finished 1,293. In career hitting percentage, Kohl is first all-time (.304) and right side hitter Annika Dell is seventh (.248). Dell also finishes 10th in career block average with a .69 mark.
Leading the WCC, Statistically Speaking Santa Clara led the WCC in three categories, ranking first in team assist average (17.87 pg), dig average (18.44 pg) and kills average (19.33 pg). The Broncos are ranked second in service ace average (1.44 pg), while ranking third in team hitting percentage (.255) and fifth in blocks (2.47 pg). Individually, Ynez Carrasco led the league in digs with a 4.12 average, while Jami Bari was eighth (2.90). Carrasco was also second in kills per game (5.07), while Roz Pelayo was first in assists (14.57) and Bari was fifth in service ace average (.30). Amy Kohl ranked fourth in kills per game (4.09), and sixth in hitting percentage (.323). Brook Terhune finished second in blocks per game (1.31) and seventh in hitting percentage (.319). Additionally, Merrin Thompson tied for sixth in service ace average (0.27), while Chrissy Hirsch tied for ninth in that category (.25).
Head Coach Jon Wallace In only his second season as Santa Clara's head coach, Jon Wallace (UC Santa Barbara '89) was named the West Coast Conference's Coach of the Year. His career mark currently stands at 48-16 (.750). On Oct. 7, Wallace earned his 35th career win against USF, becoming the tries. In 1999, Wallace led his team to its best record in six seasons and its first trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Santa Clara, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine. A three-year starting setter at UC Santa Barbara, Wallace directed the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament title match in 1988.
A Change of Scenery Due to reconstruction of the Leavey Center, Santa Clara played its shortened nine-match home season in the newly-built Pat Malley Fitness & Recreation Center. The Broncos played 21 regular-season matches on the road, and completed a 15-match road swing before returning for the home opener Oct. 8, a 3-0 defeat of George Mason. The Broncos won all nine contests played at Malley, dropping only four of 31 games. Santa Clara will move into its new home in 2001.